Everyone at Rice (even the athletes which have an unfair reputation of being, let's just say, less intelligent than the rest of the student body) is unbelievably smart and has worked their butt off to get where they are. Discussions in classes are robust, and the diverse student body (we've got kids from China to Italy and everywhere in between)ensures that there will be an interesting perspective on issues. Kids here turned down offers from the best schools in the country (common rejected schools include Vanderbilt and Northwestern but some Rice students turned down the Harvards and Stanfords which is a testament to how great Rice really is), and its really cool to study among some of the smartest kids in the world. You can find any group you want on campus. Every religious group, every skin color, every socio-economic group can be found at Rice. It's really that diverse. No one would feel uncomfortable at Rice. Although Rice is so diverse, some groups segregate themselves together. Asians (especially those from China) have a group to themselves and can be seen speaking only Chinese on campus. Athletes stick together. Blacks gravitate towards each other. I can't fault anyone for this (you hang out who you are comfortable with), but what I just wrote is a generalization. Students of all different backgrounds hang out, study, eat, etc with each other. No matter what color, ethnicity, religion, whatever you are, you can fit in at Rice. About 50% of Rice students are from Texas but every state in the United States is represented here. We also have kids from China, Thailand, Spain, the UAE, and even the Virgin Islands. Students don't dress up to class. It's 1000X more likely for the girls to be in pajamas than in dresses. There is the Ralph Lauren, Sperry-wearing set but they are highly underrepresented. No one cares about your brand of clothes. If they are clean (and even if they aren't), they are good enough for most Rice students. Like I said above, most Rice kids are solidly middle-class (the ones who have some financial aid but not all). While they are not poor, most students don't have money to spend on expensive clothes or restaurants. In fact on Saturday night (where all of Rice's serveries close to encourage students to explore Houston), it can be a challenge to find people to out to a restaurant other than Smashburger or Chick Fil-A. Your parents money doesn't matter all that much at Rice. People don't judge you if your poor or rich. Rice students are so insular (aka they never leave campus!) and poorly dressed that it can almost be hard to distinguish the rich from the not. Many students need extra spending money and hold on-campus jobs (which are guaranteed for students on financial aid). I've heard that having a job at Rice is hard because of the continual barrage of homework we receive. As a Political Science major (and a conservative), I can accurately say the majority of Rice University students have left-of-center political beliefs. Nearly all students are politically apathetic though and you have to question them to gauge their political beliefs. Rice is nowhere near as liberal as the Northeastern schools (we are in Texas after all), but Rice is definitely more left-wing than its Southern location would suggest and even more left-wing than its Democratic-leaning Houston location.
Rice's student body, while not as diverse as the nation at large, is much more diverse than the average upper-tier college. It doesn't have as many LGBT people as would be expected, but those that are there are treated with respect. The people who may feel most out of place at Rice are African-Americans, who often form groups among themselves to gain a sense of community. Racism, however, is not extremely prevalent, especially considering the location of Rice. Half of Rice students are from Texas, the other half from around the nation and world- we have quite a few international students. Financially, many Rice students are upper-class; however, there is an excellent financial aid program at Rice. Many of my friends come from middle or even lower-class socio-economic backgrounds, and do very well. It's a liberal campus, but Republicans are to be found. We are fairly politically aware, but Rice politics tends to overshadow national politics. Money is not often discussed at Rice, but more often funny stories, current classes, or upcoming parties. The student who might feel out of place at Rice would be the student who never relaxes but always studies; living at the library once in a while is fine, but it's important to come out once in a while too!
Rice prides itself for being open, diverse, and cutting edge when it comes to political correctness. An awakening expereience came for me during my first week freshman year. I had heard about RAs (resident associates/hall monitors...) and knew they were people who were older than the undergrads and people we were suppose to feel comfortable going to if we had any problems or concerns. Well my first week I discovered my RA was a bisexual living with his partner. Very interesting and caught me somewhat off guard. My other RA lived down the hall with her boyfriend. No one seemed to think twice about these individuals' living arrangements. In addition sometimes I feel that Rice tries to be tolerant of all, but ends up discriminating against Bible believing Christians. In an effort to be tolerant, I sense some intolerance against certain groups at times. However, with this said, I am grateful for the expereiences that have stretched me. I don't consider them necessarily a negative. All of my expereiences at Rice have helped mold and shape me into the person I am today. My word of advice: be prepared for the unexpected.
Rice students are very accepting, kind, and down-to-earth. You won't find that preppy or snobby attitude here. Different religions are not only tolerated but are embraced-- with the curiosity of Rice students, most people just want to learn more about different religions. The dress code to class ranges from pajamas (for the few late comers) to cute dresses (for the few who wake up that early); the majority of students fall somewhere in between, and no one is actually judged based on their appearance in class. You will meet so many people who are different that you simply by looking down the hall! The student body is just so diverse (both ethnically, religiously, regionally, socio-economically) that you can't avoid it. Although statistically the majority of students are from Texas, the people I have met come from all over the world...in fact, the majority of my friends are from Ohio. The campus is more conservative than the average college campus, i would say, but by no means are we Republicans; I would still say that the liberals are more prevalent, but the diversity makes discussions quite interesting.
The student body at Rice is one of the most diverse of any university in the country. Students come from all over the world and each and every one has unique experiences and characteristics that have shaped Rice's culture into one like no other. Financially, they're all across the spectrum as Rice is indeed expensive but also has a very good financial aid program. Racially, there's a group for every denomination possible and while this helps many retain their culture and share it with the rest of the student body, it is in no way dividing as this diversity has created a very strong culture of acceptance. There are some cliques within campus, however the majority of students have a group of friends that accurately reflects the diversity of the entire campus. Most importantly, nobody can ever feel out of place at Rice. There's a extremely similar friend for everybody and an extremely dissimilar friend that you would never think you would get along with for everybody as well.
The Rice student body is incredibly diverse and generally interesting, but in general I'd say we work hard and party hard. Half the student body is from Texas, but the other half is from all over. As someone from out-of-state, it has been interesting getting to know Texas culture, but I have also met many students from my home state (Maryland) and many international students. Most students are laid-back, wear comfortable clothes to class, and are often politically apathetic. People are generally pretty down-to-earth, and most people mix and mingle. The athletes are one group that often keep to themselves, and certain ethnic groups do form, but in general everyone is friendly with each other. The college system encourages people from all different backgrounds to interact and get to know each other, especially because all freshmen live on campus.
As a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I really enjoy the passion of Rice students to practice what they believe, not be afraid, and not have to be afraid. We encourage any student to come to and participate in our weekly get-togethers. As a private university, Rice is unique in that all its activities and organizations are inclusive rather than exclusive. Even though, of course, some students are more intolerant of particular groups, I feel that overall, students are very supportive of their peers' beliefs and values. Within my group of friends at my residential college, one of our friends is a devout Muslim who commits herself to staying pure by not attending parties or have parties held in her room, and her roommates and my friends respect her values and do not force her to do anything that she wouldn't want to participate in.
Rice is very open. There are religious communities, and LGBT societies. There are political organizations of every strain, and people from every background. I can honestly say that at no time while I was at Rice did I know or care about the political leanings, socio-economic background, future salarly, or any other such aspect of the people around me. People at Rice just don't care. If someone walked into a dining hall and looked at the tables, you'd notice that there just weren't any patterns. If you get into Rice, the other students know you must at least be relatively smart, and that's all that matters. I can't tell you about the demographics at Rice, because in four years of living on campus, I just didn't notice them. And I'd wager that 95% of my classmates didn't either.
Our campus is a very diverse one. We have alot of ethnic clubs that are not only geared in recruiting student of that ethnicity, but we have alot of other students joining them and even taking officer positions for those clubs. LGBT clubs get alot of recognition too, and they have their annual drag show, which everyone likes to participate in and watch. I feel that any student can find their niche here. Students are usually dressed in jeans and are very casual. Many also look like they've just woken up and are still in their pajamas and brings breakfast to class. Students are not too politically aware or in touch with current affairs. But we have many groups promoting the presidential elections and the Baker institute encouraging students to attend talks.
Not really diverse (mostly Caucasion), but everyone is really special in their own way. It's almost surprising to find out how much some students have accomplished. Most people are moderate to liberal, and people are pretty active. They are usually pretty future-orientated. A lot of students are from Texas, but there are still plenty of out-of-state and international students. A crazy, party student may feel somewhat out-of-place, but he can still find his crowd. While we are not as racially diverse, we are very diverse personality-wise. You mostly interact with the people in your college (dorm), but you can still be really good friends with people all around campus. Rice is small enough so that you can walk around and almost always see someone you know.